Indian authorities need to completely overhaul the country’s police systems to address rampant human rights abuses that undermine India’s progress and the rule of law, Human Rights Watch says in a new report.
The existing system, HRW charges in “Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse and Impunity in the Indian Police,” has failed to evolve beyond the repressive characteristics instilled during colonial times and not only encourages abuse, but facilitates it.
Torture, extortion, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings are considered common practice.
“When they were first constituted as a colonial force in the 1800’s they were taught to use repression, fear — the public’s fear rather than its cooperation. And, that is still the way they are doing policing today,” Naureen Shah of HRW’s Asia division told Voice of America.
The government has failed to put an emphasis on modernizing and funding police forces, leaving Indian police over-stretched, ill-equipped and poorly paid. As a result, Indians avoid any contact with the police and many crimes go unreported.